This post is long overdue. It has been in the works for quite a long time, I just keep procrastinating and procrastinating on it.
The term queer is near and dear to my heart. It means odd. It has also meant homosexual. The term has been retaken by the LGBTQI movement to mean something more full and inclusive than simply “homosexual”. A queer person may be of any sexual orientation, but they realize that they are not simply defined by that orientation; they know that their sexuality can be fluid and they are accepting of this. They are comfortable in their otherness, their oddness.
I have a friend who identifies as queer. He is pretty much exclusively heterosexual, but there is something else about him, a comfortableness with being, a bond with the idea of being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, without necessarily being fully one of the above. Like me, he knows the sex and gender binaries and what can be damaging about them. He is one of the few other people I know who objects to the use of the term “gender” on forms; gender is not male or female, but one’s gender identity as feminine, masculine, androgynous, or any combination of the above. To put it simply, there is no correct answer to the question of “male or female”. But most people do not understand that and I believe, do not care. I always put “female”, simply because I believe that my biological sex mostly matches up with my perception of myself in a sexual way, and that most forms do no not leave space for an explanation of how I believe I differ from that. And my assumption is that they are really asking about that. This is where my friend may be more queer than me. Often if there is an option he will indicate “other” on the form, perhaps at an attempt to address the difference between how he feels about himself as a being and the stereotype of “man” in our culture. I greatly admire him for this and may do this in the future, simply because it is a way that appears to work pretty well without preaching or getting upset at every little form or incident.
There are privilege issues at stake here too. As I have said before, as a bisexual woman, I do not have some of the privileges that heterosexual women take for granted. As a queer (mostly) heterosexual man, my friend can come from a position where he acknowledges that there are privileges he does not wish to partake in that he could claim simply by not also identifying as queer. I think queerness addresses privilege in a way that heterosexuality (or homosexuality) cannot, by coming at the issue from a different perspective
There is so much more I could say, but it is getting late, so I will potentially save that for another day.
P.S. I apologize to my friend if this seems to imply that I am saying something about how you feel that is not true. Feel free to leave me a comment and I will change it if need be.